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Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Dick, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. Dick

    Dick Junior Poster

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    Hi, I'm a new member with my first post. Current planted tank has been going for 5 years with OK growth and minor struggles with algae. Recent algae problems have motivated me to update my approach.

    After reading this forum, I believe my priorities should be to

    -replace current external CO2 reactor that can only get tank to 18 ppm

    -replace RFUG/gravel with Flourite

    -adopt new approach to fertilizing and nutrients

    It appears as if I have 3 choices for CO2: Barr DIY internal, internal disc or sweetwater diffuser, or external reactor. Since my tank is a 55, I'm leaning towards an external diffuser.

    Question: I read multiple references to the Barr external diffuser but can't find any pictures or description. Where can I find the details?

    Question: For a purchased diffuser, I have read a few favorable comments about the Aqua Medic 1000 (over kill for a 55 or 75 but I assume isn't a problem-I don't want to struggle getting to 30ppm). Comments on the AM 1000 or recommendations for another purchased diffuser?

    Question: Would the Sweetwater diffuser with a right angle flow over it easily provide 30ppm for a 55 gallon tank? for a 75 gallon tank? Would I continue to use my existing checkvalve/bubble counter/needle valve for the sweetwater diffuser?

    Current setup:

    55 gallon
    110 watts of 6700 CF lighting
    RFUG filter
    Magnum 350 Cannister
    Pressurized CO2/external reactor
    Light fish and plant load
    Add TMG and K2SO4
    NO3 = 5
    pH = 6.9
    KH = 5

    This forum is a great find for me and is already a great value for my subscription!

    Thanks in advance for your comments.

    Dick
     
  2. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

     
  3. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    i currently have 2 55gal tanks setup.i run spraybar vertical as close to one end of tank as possible.water is directed along back of tank with a eheim diffuser at bottom,just in front of spraybar. at same end of tank i set a powerhead just below water level to get surface motion blowing in same direction. i'm getting good circulation that way.its not as a offensive look as i thought it would be.if thinking about flourite gravel ,when considering shipping i've found foster@smith to be the most economical.BUT if color does not matter i would try soilmaster select,sooo much less $$$.three years ago i broke the bank buying reg.flourite.its been a satisfactory product,but too expensive.i have quite a few tanks.one 55 has 2 allglass compacts on it because of a dark bedroom where it is located,and other 55 is in my fish room with just 1 allglass compact,lots of light in small room. i dose both tanks the same and get about the same results. sweetwater stones are the next diffuser i'm going to try.
    regards,cornhusker :) :)
     
  4. Dick

    Dick Junior Poster

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    Cornhusker, thanks for your comments-appreciate description of your CO2 distribution within the tank. Think I will spend the $s and try regular flourite-will check prices at Foster and Smith.
     
  5. phineus

    phineus Junior Poster

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    What are sweetwater stones?
     
  6. wapfish

    wapfish Prolific Poster

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  7. Jay

    Jay Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    I switched a few months back from an internal reactor for my 75 to a glass diffuser (like azoo) which produces micro bubbles. The results were dramatic in plant growth, health, and algae control. I plan to move to the sweetwater diffuser which I hope will give me smaller and more consistent bubbles (a mist). I use a horizontal canister filter return and a small power-head along the back to the tank for current, works well for me.

    A bubble counter is convenient for visual confirmation of the amount of gas being injected, but I don't rely on it much any more. I just watch the fish and plants and occasionally test Ph KH.

    A check valve is always a good thing.

    A needle valve is what controls the amount of gas you are injecting, it is fairly essential in my opinion.
     
  8. phineus

    phineus Junior Poster

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    I'm currently running an AQ 1000 externally. If I split the CO2 line, with half going to the external reactor and half going to a sweetwater stone, would that let me enjoy the benefits of misting?
     
  9. matpat

    matpat Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    If you split the CO2 line I believe you are going to need a needle valve on each CO2 line after the split. There will be more back pressure on the stone line than there will be on the line to the Reactor 1000. CO2 will take the path of least resistance which will be to the Reactor 1000.
     
  10. aussietanker

    aussietanker Junior Poster

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    Hi all...

    and Happy New Year greetings from Sydney Australia ...

    Just when i thought that i was getting the hang of this planted tank business by getting my mind around Mr Barr's EI and dosing ferts etc along comes the concept of the CO2 mist ... :eek:

    now i'm really confused ... but i don't think that i'm alone :eek:

    here's where i'm a bit confused ...

    1. do i still keep my external CO2 reactor or is it now unnecessary?

    2. is it recommended to add the venturi loop as shown in the DIY gallery on this site to my existing external CO2 reactor? .... or do i just add one of the options shown in point 3. below? ....

    3. in adding in the CO2 mist i gather that there are a number of options ... i can use either the ceramic disk type diffuser as shown here ... or the special sweetwater airstone like diffusers shown here ...or these point 4 ultra fine bubble diffusers shown here ... or this internal type reactor as shown in the DIY section of this website here ... which is the prefferred method? ..

    hoping that someone can help with a little more clarification of this process please ....it would be great if someone who totally understands it could do a more detailed write up ....

    with regards
    aussietanker
     
  11. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    the mist idea imo is the way to go IF your not offended by the small bubbles blowing around the tank. you will find much faster responce with co2 saturation.i have been trying to find a stone that creates mist type bubbles for four years.no luck until now.the mist idea makes alot of sense.it's cheap! should use bubble counter and solenoid to control gas.inline solenoids available at AQUA BUYS.COM for $29.99. also FOSTER&SMITH have sweetwater stones at $1.69 each,p.43 of their catalog,(silica stones).can make diy bubble counter out of medicine saringe and checkvalve.it can't be much simpler than this. when stone gets dirty replace with new one while other one is soaking in h202 or bleach.equipment wise this method is easier to hide in your tank.regards,cornhusker :) :)
     
  12. aussietanker

    aussietanker Junior Poster

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    Hi Cornhusker ...

    thanks for the reply .... so does this mean that you do in fact ditch the external CO2 reactor totally with this mist idea? ....

    are you are just using the sweetwater stones to distribute the co2 into the tank (and a powerhead to push the mist around) ...

    could you somehow put the sweetwater stoes inside an external reactor? ... or is an important part of the "system" or approach actually having the fine mist of bubbles in direct contact with the plants leaves?

    are you aware of any links to detailed pics or schematics of this setup .... i still don't quite get it ... sorry :confused:

    is the eheim diffuser that you are referring to this
     
  13. DavidR

    DavidR Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    I'm intrigued as well as equally skeptical about this CO2 mist idea. Since I began introducing CO2 into my planted aquariums, I've always used the filters as a source of diffusion. HOB power filters always have done a poor job, but cannister filters seem to do very adequately. The finest plants I've ever grown were in a 29g with a Marineland HOB cannister w/ pres. CO2. I've found that in large tanks, 75g and greater, CO2 is an obvious problem.

    I know I'm saturating the water by looking at the fish in the morning, and I've got lots of little bubbles circulating everywhere, just as I've always had, but somehow, I've never rivaled the plants I grew in that 29g. But somehow, I know this is a CO2 problem. I'm simply waiting for a reason to spend money on diffusion equipment when my Eheim spews CO2 mist 24/7?
     
  14. Jay

    Jay Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    I think there is some confusion here between “diffusing” and “micro misting” CO2 gas. Bottom line…we are talking about delivering CO2 to the plants and the various methods available i.e. Reactors, diffusers, ceramic stones etc.

    The misting technique Tom advocates is one of many ways to get CO2 to the plants. It can be a stand-alone method that only requires a quality ceramic stone that will produce a very “fine” mist or micro bubble, and a current of water to blow the mist around the tank.

    Some of the CO2 mist will diffuse (dissolve) in the water bringing the CO2 level up to whatever you want it to be. The rest of the micro bubbles are pure (well mostly) CO2 gas that come directly in contact with the plants delivering a straight shot of gas for the plants to use.

    Outside of this forum there is a lot of skepticism and outright hostility to this technique and theory. That’s OK bye me, I have never seen my plants do so well, and have so little algae. I also was able to take my unsightly reactor etc. out of the tank and have one less piece of equipment to maintain. I am very interested in the “why it works” question and I am sure it will slowly evolve. For now, I am content to see what I see.

    Jay
     
  15. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    Jay,i think your right on of your assessment of the mist idea. the method is so simple i think that's whats causing the controversy.old habits are hard to break. also if a person is dispencing co2 into their tank using other methods and it works for them,they are going to continue using that method.not everyone likes to see a mist of bubbles blowing around their tank.i tryed this way four years ago with diy co2 but it never worked out because i could never get consistant delivery.went to internal reactor and pressurized co2 and did not pursue the mist idea anymore,until tom experimented.regards,cornhusker :) :)
     
  16. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    BTW,for those of you injecting co2 directly into canister filter,i still think this is a good way to method.but in talking to some people they would say it's hard on the pump.mine being at the time a eheim 2213,and they can be touchy, i decided to go the reactor route.i've since tryed a few times with the filstars,but never stuck with it.i'm allways experimenting with new ways.regards,cornhusker :) :)
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    I'm less worried about the hostile stuff, they can keep that:)

    The notion I had that caused the ruckus was the ideal of adding gas to the plants rather than dissolving it. In reality, some of both occurs, you can see this when you use a filter, a DIY venturi etc as it burps the mist out every so often.

    So you get the benefits of the entire surface layer having dissolved CO2 but also pockets of high CO2 rich gas bubbles.

    I've played with mist in the past, so have several folks that had nice tanks here locally.

    Larger tanks are more problematic WITH RESPECT TO CO2.
    You need more current than you think and better equal distribution.
    I've made CO2 systesm for tanks up to 2000 gals. You start seeing issues at about 55gal and up.

    But more mixing and current(not blasting) is good when using the mist.
    Blasting the mist around the tank is not new, Dave Gomberg, had suggested it at least 12 years ago(but without needle valve, tank dumping killed folk's fish).

    Still, the mist was not the probelm with that.

    Amano uses the mist and seems interest in current routines in tanks.
    I consider Amano a good observationist, but not particular good at physiology.
    So his thoughts do have some weight.

    I have used those DIY CO2 venturi reactors for about 10-12 years or more.
    They produce the similar fine mist and my tanks then blast the mist around gently.

    I have noticed better plant growth as you get progressively close to the reactor outflow.

    I'm sure many of you have seen this.

    There must be a reason and you can measure the CO2/pH/KH at each location and they are the SAME.

    So what else is occuring if the CO2 ppm is the same throughout the tank?

    You can be as hostile as you want, but equal CO2ppm cannot account for the differences of growth in both locations.

    I attack ideas hostily as well as on the other "I like this" side. But personal attacks are bad, attack the idea, not the person. You also need to try a method to actually have any comment on it.

    Some things like algae killers are poor ideas from day one, but generally something using CO2 will only help improve your tank.

    Playing with CO2 is the most important "nutrient" that can be tweaked.
    Don't ever forget that.

    Trying different things can help.

    I'd stick with the mist or the reactors.

    Various HOB, cansiters etc work, and are simple, you will get more out of them using light CO2 dosing and turning the gas off at night.

    Adding a bubble counter(very good for consistent CO2 dosing once the ppm is dialed in) as well as a solenoid, but you can avoid these also by using a DIY venturi reactor/powerhead+ stone under the suction side and plug the powerhead into the light timer.

    So there are cheaper ways etc, but the method that fits your budget and routine is subjective to you.

    Both will work.

    But one may work better for you, which is a key thing.
    I've played around a lot with CO2 over the years, the mist is easy, effective and works very well.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. aussietanker

    aussietanker Junior Poster

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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    thanks to those that have responded recently to this post .... ... for the life of me i can't understand why anyone would be hostile towards that mist concept ... a little confused yes :eek: ... but hostile seems a crazy response ..

    if it works that is soooo kool ...less stuff ... simpler ... what more could you want! ... it seems all good to me ...i really want to try it ... i'm just not 100% sure how to set it up ... it just sounds ... well ... too simple really ... :eek:


    can i ask you Jay ....

    from your post it seems to me that you are saying that all you are doing is pumping CO2 from your CO2 gas bottle .... thru the usual regulator and needle valve (and probably solenoid) .... thru bubble counter ... then straight onto a "quality ceramic stone" .... and that's it? ...... as simple as that :confused: ....

    so you have no external regulator etc .... WOW :) ... and i take it that the plants are all doing well? ....

    i ....and i am sure others would really appreciate it if you could confirm that this setup or sequence of equipt is correct please ....


    regards
    aussietanker
     
  19. Jay

    Jay Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    Yes as simple as that.
    How you push the mist around is also important. I do want to say, and as cornhusker has pointed out in past posts, that the little bubbles floating around are not esthetically pleasing to some. The plants, however, go crazy!

    I was a little concerned at first and did both the stone and reactor, but taking Toms advice soon convinced myself that the stone and current were all I needed. My $50 reactor now resides in my spare parts box.

    Jay
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Help with CO2 Diffuser Choice

    Hey, do you really think after fiddling with reactors and making and selling them for years, I'd suggested something Amanoish?

    I'm not so sure it's him per se, rathe rEhiems got hit due to the Dave Gomberg suggestions not to use a needle valve and we had 7-8 folks wipe their tanks out. Folks that used the valves with them, did do very well and some of the best tanks had the spray bars and flow patterns hitting the mist in a similar manner as what I suggest.

    That was 12 years ago.
    Long before I ever saw an Amano book.

    But we did discuss flow patterns a lot back them, at least Steve and myself did a lot. Even the scapes had some designs based on the flow characteristics.

    Flow is important, larger tanks, say 75=>125 range needs two, 180's or higher need 3 etc.

    A good flow bar will be helpful but those Kent bubble pipes directed well can do the trick with out too much spray bar junk in there.

    For larger tanks, it might be better to use a venturi mazzati valve, these are not cheap, about 75$ but nothing but pure mist shooting out of them.

    That would get everything out of the tank well.
    Hey, ADA beetle run more than this.

    You get high water contact and flow+ nothing inside the tank+ downward mist flow that can be directed anywhere you want.

    Not bad either.

    I think we will see some new items in the next 5 years.

    Better venturi's designed specifically for CO2 and also ultrasonic misters for CO2(instead of fog).

    If you have not tried this method, give it a whirl.
    About 90% of the folks like the mist floating around.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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